Below is an academic vocabulary list of literary devices that will be discussed and assessed throughout the school year.
Personification-A type of figurative language in which a nonhuman object or animal is given human characteristics. “Mushroom are meek, yet slightly sinister creatures.”
Simile-A figure of speech that makes a direct comparison between two unlike things using like or as. “Trains pass with windows shining like a smile full of teeth.”
Metaphor-A figure of speech that makes a direct comparison between two unlike subjects. “Time is a jet plane.”
Imagery-Words or phrases that appeal to one or more of the five senses. Writers use imagery to create a specific effect, to emphasize key words or to imitate sounds.—to show how their subjects look, sound, smell, taste and feel. “The sound begins again: The siren in the night. The thunder at the door. The shriek of nerves in pain. The keen crescendo of faces split by pain. The wordless, endless wail only the unfree know.”
Literal Language-Language where words are used strictly as the dictionary intends.
Figurative Language-Language where words are used to express meaning in fresh, colorful and interesting ways.
Hyperbole-Exaggeration for effect. Writers use hyperbole to create humor, to emphasize particular points, and to create dramatic effects. “His jaw dropped to the floor and his eyes bulged out.”
Alliteration-The repetition of initial consonant sounds. It is often used to create a musical or rhythmic effect, to emphasize key words or to imitate sounds. “Helplessly hoping her harlequin hovers near by, awaiting a word.”
Onomatopoeia-The formation of words by imitating sounds. Hiss, crash, buzz, neigh, ring and jingle are examples.
Idiom-A figurative expression that has a meaning all its own. Examples: Go play in the street. She has a soft heart. You drive me up the wall. You’re pulling my leg. Lend me a hand.
Allusion-A reference to a person, place, thing, literary work, or work of art which invites comparison to an element in a piece of literature. Allusions often come from the Bible of Mythology and writers often expect their readers to be familiar with the things to which they refer.
Symbolism-A symbol is anything that stands for or represents something else. Symbols are usually concrete object or images that represent abstract ideas. Doves symbolize peace; a heart symbolizes love; flag symbolizes patriotism; chains symbolize slavery, oppression and eagle symbolizes freedom.
Allegory-A story, poem or picture that can interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning. Aesop’s fables are examples of allegories. Meaning is similar to that of Allusion.
Flashback-A transition scene that interrupts the chronological sequence of an event of earlier occurrence. Going back in time to tell a separate event.
Foreshadowing-In a literary work, the use of clues that suggest events that have yet to occur.
Point of View-The perspective or vantage point from which a story is told. The three most common points of view in narrative literature are first person, omniscient third-person and limited third person. (Narrator is a character and tells the story).
Irony-Name given to literary techniques that involve surprising, interesting and amusing contradictions. Verbal irony occurs when words are used to suggest the opposite of their usual meaning.
Cliffhanger-Plot device in which the end is curiously abrupt so the main characters are left in a difficult situation without offering any resolution of conflicts. Suspense is created so that readers are left to ask, “What will happen next?”’